Common Sense


Awesome Apps and Sites for the Arts

Art can help students communicate their ideas and express themselves, whether inside or outside of an arts classroom. In facts, the arts can often come alive for students when fused with other subject areas. In today's digital classrooms, what students create and how they create has never been more expansive, and with the rise of digital design and STEAM, students can use the arts to contextualize and demonstrate STEM learning (as well as humanities learning). Whether students are into traditional fine art, music, theater, dance, design, coding, or beyond, digital creation tools offer students myriad opportunities to create and share whatever they can image. Explore the terrific tools on this list to find ways to empower your students to move from consumption to creation, and to make their voices and perspectives heard.

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Captivating music creation app for young musicians

Bottom line: For iOS-infused preschool and kindergarten classrooms, this could be an excellent intro to electronic music.

Easy Music - Give kids an ear for music

Music-exploration app offers great balance of play and guidance

Bottom line: Great, easily accessible approach to building the foundations for musical literacy.

Artsonia Kids Art Museum

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work

Bottom line: A well-loved digital art museum that allows students to share work and reflect on their artistic process while helping teachers assess student understanding of artistic concepts.

Piano Maestro by JoyTunes

Great sharing features help parents, teachers support piano practice

Bottom line: A cool way to get piano students, their teachers, and their parents on the same page, but it might need tweaking to remove some distractions.

Piano Practice with Wolfie

Stellar piano practice tool supports reflection, persistence

Bottom line: An excellent platform for supporting serious music practice if you can make it logistically work in your classroom.

Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using code blocks.

Drawn to Discover

How-to-draw videos build motor skills and cross-curricular connections

Bottom line: This novel drawing curriculum is a cool idea, and well-structured, but could better support students' own creative exploration.


Impressive cross-curricular resource helps put the A in STEAM

Bottom line: A useful and engaging resource for integrating the arts into a variety of other subject areas.


Whimsical, kid-friendly intro to the wide world of art

Bottom line: A wonderful, endlessly detailed way to get kids engaged in the world of art.

MoMA Art Lab

Interactive projects, cool prompts, and famous works inspire creation

Bottom line: The overall experience is very open-ended, making it easy to bounce between creating and exploring art.

Wizard School

Curated videos and creative challenges ignite active learning

Bottom line: There's plenty of material to inspire kids to embark on learning adventures that get them to explore, create, and share safely on the screen and off.


Appealing, feedback-rich tool helps kids build core musical skills

Bottom line: Paired with great in-person instruction, this is a fabulous tool to boost musical skills.

Google CS First

Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools

Bottom line: If your middle school doesn't have a CS program or club, now you do!

Canva - Photo Editor & Design

Create snazzy designs in seconds with flexible, cloud-based tool

Bottom line: A flexible, accessible way to get kids -- especially design novices -- creating digitally in your classroom if you have stable internet and time to get students set up to be successful.


Unique puzzle game's artistic geometry rewards and frustrates

Bottom line: Play for the surprising geometry and beautiful art; consult the web or just walk away for a while when stuck.

The Noun Project

Think in pictures with vibrant visual language everyone can understand

Bottom line: It's a neat, well-executed concept with lots of possibilities for learning, imagining, and creating.


Movie editor will satisfy beginner and intermediate creators

Bottom line: Despite some limitations with editing, it’s the perfect tool to get teachers and students started with digital video production.

iTooch Music

Charming visuals, challenging quizzes build solid musical knowledge

Bottom line: iTooch Music is a terrific reference and review tool for beginning to advanced music students.

Adobe Capture CC

Magical design tool extracts colors, patterns, and more from images

Bottom line: The rare combo of "wow" factor and utility, this tool help students recognize and use the designed world around them.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Top-notch photo editor helps perfect pics for creative projects

Bottom line: This is a powerful, free creation tool from the industry leader in photo editing.

Adobe Photoshop Mix - Cut out, combine, create

Impressive photo-editing app focuses on compositing, blending imagery

Bottom line: While it's tackling a slightly niche design need (blending, layering, compositing photos), Photoshop Mix is an incredible tool that makes these processes shockingly simple on mobile devices.

Adobe Premiere Clip

Decent on-the-go video editor shines when using other Adobe tools

Bottom line: It's a good tool that gets better when using other Creative Cloud apps, but the limited features make this a hard sell for anything other than introductory editing.

Autodesk Design Academy

Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software

Bottom line: The projects found here are a great way to teach and learn digital design; all are truly fantastic (and free!), with everything you need ready to go.

Google Arts & Culture

Excellent curation and an unmatched art collection invite exploration

Bottom line: A one-stop shop for a vast amount of compellingly curated and contextualized art, but it's lacking educator supports.


Safe, collaborative space for creating and sharing original music

Bottom line: This useful, well-constructed music composition tool lets classrooms collaborate and comment on student-created songs.

The Orchestra

Stellar interactive features bring classical music vibrantly to life

Bottom line: A terrifically designed tool that invites students into the often unwelcoming world of classical music in a way that deepens appreciation and understanding of the complexities and beauties of the art form.


Outstanding art tool supports the workflow of seasoned digital painters

Bottom line: For iPads, this is a best-in-class tool with enough pro-level features and technology, and some nice support resources.


Podcasting app is super easy to use, if you can do it all in one take

Bottom line: There are few easier ways to publish a podcast, but that ease of use comes at the cost of one-take creation and few tools for post-production.


Create snazzy video slide shows with simple, flexible features

Bottom line: Slick music videos and slide shows are easy to make, but students need more controls to personalize them.

Auxy Studio - Music & Beat Maker

Loop beats like a pro with stellar music-maker

Bottom line: A stellar, approachable tool for constructing your very own digital beats and tracks.

Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

Bottom line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.


Terrific composition tool empowers budding musicians to create, share

Bottom line: An excellent tool for writing and sharing musical creations.


Collaborative publishing and design tool has lots of options, templates

Bottom line: An easy-to-use mash-up of InDesign and Google Drive, Lucidpress fills a niche for publication creation and collaboration.

Adobe Spark

Super-flexible design tool for crafting fab images, videos, and sites

Bottom line: This free, one-stop shop for creating sleek graphics, web stories, and animated videos is incredibly easy to use and challenges students to think critically about visual presentation.

PicCollage - Photo Collage Maker & Picture Editor

Versatile, intuitive, engaging collage maker yields impressive designs

Bottom line: With some privacy setup, and possibly upgrading to the paid version, this can be an excellent design tool for creating custom collages, teaching graphic design, layout, and photo editing.

PicMonkey Photo Editor

Reliable photo editor built for design and social sharing

Bottom line: A great, social media-friendly option for teaching teens design, layout, and photo editing, but the paid version is more competitive with other tools.

Grafio 3 - Diagrams & ideas

Flexible app transforms sketches into pro-level designs and diagrams

Bottom line: A terrific choice for creating simple diagrams or presentations on iOS.


Extremely powerful photo-editor will equally delight pros, amateurs

Bottom line: It successfully walks the fine line of photo-editing features, offering satisfying experiences to those making quick edits to those crafting perfect images.

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